NCAA Football

Western Kentucky OC Ben Arbuckle is in talks to commit to WSU

Western Kentucky OC Ben Arbuckle is in talks to commit to WSU

Hello Coug fans!

Yours Washington State Cougars have been busy in the ten (10) days since the last football game, with rumors of a new one potential coach of the region, and now a potential new offensive coordinator? Pinch us!

Let’s see what QB coach/offensive coordinator Jake Dickert might have in mind for the job.

This was tweeted by Bruce Feldman (link below) after 4pm today, December 27th.

Ben Arbuckle is a Texas native who played quarterback at West Texas A&M university. There, he gained 1,241 yards and 15 touchdowns in his junior season. You can find his more complete college statistics herethough I’ll warn you – it’s from 2016/17 and might put some people off.

He then joined Houston Baptist University as an offensive quality control assistant. If you’re like me, you’re wondering what that position is. Essentially, it’s the team’s preparation for the game in terms of film of the opponent’s game, statistics, and any other common information. I also call it “what you do before your friend goes on a first date.”

Arbuckle then turned around after two years to take the offensive coordinator/QB coach position at Seminole High School in Texas, where he stayed for one year before being offered another quality control coach, this time at Western Kentucky. Then he climbed the ladder there after previous teacher Zach Keatley (with whom he worked at Houston Baptist) left the program for Texas Tech.

And now – stay with me to see the next series of coincidences.

In a full-circle moment, Arbuckle was working under Keatley, who was under the wing of Kliff Kingsbury, the first real star in Mike Leach’s constellation of defenders.

The offense that Arbuckle and head coach Tyson Helton used last season could not be called an “air raid” because of their ability to run the ball at times and their use of tight ends. But it featured air raid style numbers that might sound familiar to the tried and true Leach fan. For example, WKU ran for 2,031 yards on the ground, but more than double that in passing, with 4,929 through the air.

If you look specifically at the number of touchdowns, they had 43 passes vs. 15 passes. Fight home for who else?

In terms of further similar offensive systems, WSU gave up 33 sacks for 238 total yards, while Arbuckle’s offense had 32 sacks for 214 total yards. This isn’t a fan favorite stat, but it piqued my interest so I thought I’d share.

More info: WKU’s 3rd down conversion rate was 41.5%, a whopping 5.5% higher than ours, and we all know a few more plays we made would have made a difference this season.

In terms of teams entering the red zone, WKU drove down 60 times to WSU’s 48, though the Cougs performed better under pressure, with a 92% touchdown rate compared to WKU’s 80%. In my completely unprofessional opinion, this obviously guarantees both more trips to the red zone and more touchdowns, which means more wins. This is science.

In the G5 offense, WKU was No. 1 through Week 15. They also finished the season among the top 10 yards per game leaders, with a very poor campaign.

In fact, Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed is tied for No. 2 in football’s passing yards (as of Nov. 24) with 3,837 yards. He’s a little behind who I won’t name because he attends and plays for a bad spot and they’ve taken enough energy out of me this year.

Reid recently put his name on the transfer portal, but later withdrew it.

All in all, this could be a very exciting rental! While Ben Arbuckle may not have as long a resume as the next guy, he offers the potential to grow and build the program in a dynamic yet comforting way. Everyone get ready to give him a warm welcome! Go Cougs!

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